The moment we’ve all been waiting for finally is finally here, the season 6 premiere of The Walking Dead. After the crap fest known as Fear the Walking Dead offended my senses (save for the last episode), I am more than ready for this. Curious if it holds up to the other seasons (with the exception of season two), let’s dig on in and have a look. Try and stay with me because there were a lot of flashbacks and present time interweaving that occurred throughout the episode until the time line paralleled.
We pick up with Rick giving a rousing speech to the group of compadres and town folk while overlooking a quarry. In this quarry is an enormous amount of walkers. There is some sort of scheme that has been in the works that we get treated to in flashbacks throughout. What made the flashbacks easy to follow was the use of black and white cinematography. Director Greg Nicotero, whose notoriety dates back to 1985’s Day of the Dead where he acted and did special make-up effects, brilliantly used this effect for the viewer to easily decipher current and past events. With the stage being set the walkers begin to get through the barriers. I will say the first walker to come through was impressive looking with his skin tearing away as he makes the tight squeeze. Already within the first five minutes this show is 100 times better than Fear the Walking Dead; but, then again, so is Once Upon A Time. That, my friends, is a joke. Oh, how that show enrages me with its repetitive story lines, terrible acting and atrocious effects! Sorry, I got off track there.
Let me say here that it is awesome to have Morgan back on The Walking Dead. The interactions between him and Rick really enrich the show and give it a level of humanity in a dark and fading climate. I really like the scene when Morgan meet Judith for the first time, getting to hold the little ass-kicker. We do have pissing contest going on between Carter who is played by Ethan Embree and Rick. This was a strong point in the episode. Throughout the flashbacks and present scenes we find Carter unhappy that the town seems to be following Rick’s lead without questions. This leads to animosity and Carter almost getting killed by Rick.
The one thing I did not like about the episode was the actual plan for the walkers to be released from the quarry and led out of town much like rats following the Pied Piper. The crew went through this elaborate plan setting up barriers and building walls. The intention was to let Daryl on his motorcycle and Abraham and Sasha in a car lead them 20 miles out of town. As one of my friends mentioned why not leave them in the quarry and take them out? I’ll tell you why, because the season would be over and we’d end up with another season two debacle.
This opener also gives us a good look of the awkward uneasiness between Rick and the object of his affections Jessie played by Alex Breckenridge. Things are a little strained here, I mean with Rick having shot her husband in the head for killing Reg in the last scene of season five. Again, the acting here is superb as you can feel the tension in their exchanges which are exasperated due to leaving her boys fatherless. We all know the intentions of a happy ending would be for Rick, Jessie and their children to form a The Walking Dead version of the Brady Bunch. Alas, we all know the tendencies of The Walking Dead writers and their affinities for happy endings.
Near the end of the episode, just as we all thought the herding of the walkers was going as planned, some veered off into the woods. Rick, Carter and others are trying to get them back to the herd and killing stragglers when suddenly Carter gets his face gnawed off. Rick had to put him out of his misery as his screams were drawing the zombies’ attention. As the screams are silenced, we hear a loud uninterrupted horn blaring which gets the herd’s attention. They begin to make their way into the woods to – you guessed it – the safely walled community of Alexandria. Are the Wolves behind it? I guess we have to wait until next Sunday at 9:00 PM EST to find out.
“First Time Again” is not the strongest opening I seen from The Walking Dead; but, I have a feeling next week may satisfy more. This is the cocktail hour to next week’s main course, I hope. I do like how the flashbacks and present scenes built and meshed together until they met on a parallel time line. Throughout the show we get to see interactions from most of the characters through planning phases of “Operation Walker Herd” — that’s what I’m calling it. The writers are Scott Gimple and Matthew Negrete. Gimple has production and writing credits on The Walking Dead and a show called Life, which I really dug but apparently not many others did. He also has a black mark which is his one and only film writing credit: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – enough said. Negrete is the writer for a number of shows that run the genre gambit including cartoons like Kim Possible and Pepper Ann to shows like White Collar and The Walking Dead. All in all, the opening isn’t overly action-packed but it gives fans what they needed to see to kick off the season and set up where things may be headed.
The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 1: First Time Again (3.5 / 5) on the Thug Meter